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The Water Dancer: A Novel by [Ta-Nehisi Coates]
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The Water Dancer: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 11,689 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Coates balances the horrors of slavery against the fantastical. He extends the idea of the gifts of the disenfranchised to include a kind of superpower. But The Water Dancer is very much its own book, and its gestures toward otherworldliness remain grounded. In the end, it is a novel interested in the psychological effects of slavery, a grief that Coates is especially adept at parsing. . . . In Coates’s world, an embrace can be a revelation, rare and astonishing.”—Esi Edugyan, The New York Times Book Review

“The most surprising thing about The Water Dancer may be its unambiguous narrative ambition. This isn’t a typical first novel. . . . The Water Dancer is a jeroboam of a book, a crowd-pleasing exercise in breakneck and often occult storytelling that tonally resembles the work of Stephen King as much as it does the work of Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead and the touchstone African-American science-fiction writer Octavia Butler. . . . It is flecked with forms of wonder-working that push at the boundaries of what we still seem to be calling magical realism.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

 “While neither polemical nor wholly fantastical, the story draws on skills [Coates] developed in those other genres. . . . The story’s bracing realism is periodically overcome by the mist of fantasy. The result is a budding superhero discovering the dimensions of his power within the confines of a historical novel that critiques the function of racial oppression. . . . Coates isn’t dropping supernatural garnish onto The Water Dancer any more than Toni Morrison sends a ghost whooshing through Beloved for cheap thrills. Instead, Coates’s fantastical elements are deeply integral to his novel, a way of representing something larger and more profound than the confines of realism could contain.”The Washington Post

“The best writers—the best storytellers, in particular—possess the enchanting, irresistible power to take the reader somewhere else. Ta-Nehisi Coates imagines the furthest reach of that power as a means to transcend borders and bondage in The Water Dancer, a spellbinding look at the impact of slavery that uses meticulously researched history and hard-won magic to further illuminate this country’s original sin. . . . Exploring the loaded issues of race and slavery has become yet more fuel for today’s culture wars, but an underlying message of liberation through the embrace of history forms the true subject of The Water Dancer. . . . Coates envisions the transcendent potential in acknowledging and retelling stories of trauma from the past as a means out of darkness. With recent family separations at the U.S. border, this message feels all the more timely.”Los Angeles Times

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of September 2019: Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of one of the most important nonfiction books of this decade, Between the World and Me, which means that his fiction debut arrives with a great amount of anticipation. Would the urgency of his nonfiction writing come through in a novel? Would he be as nimble in a made-up world? Would it be good? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes. Coates’s novel is the story of Hiram Walker, who was born into slavery on a Virginia plantation that is owned by his white father and experiencing a slow decline. Although Hiram is gifted with a photographic memory, his mother—who was sold away when he was young—is the one thing he cannot remember. Indeed, many of the women in his life are taken away from him too early—a fact that will guide his actions later in the novel. The story blends the brutality of history with more imaginative elements: for example, white people are called the Quality, black people are called the Tasked; and Hiram possesses powers that fall into the spectrum of magical realism. As the novel moves north to Philadelphia, where Hiram grows into his own and begins working for the Underground, and eventually turns back to his southern birthplace, the fantastical elements only give greater power to the story. The Water Dancer is a stirring debut, and Coates is the novelist we were hoping he would be. --Chris Schluep --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07NKMZT7T
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ One World (September 24, 2019)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ September 24, 2019
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 2327 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 417 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 0399590595
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 11,689 ratings

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
11,689 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2019
355 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

Eric Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars A slow-burning horror
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2020
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12 people found this helpful
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Jane Griffiths
2.0 out of 5 stars Slavery is not arguable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 1, 2019
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12 people found this helpful
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M. Dowden
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiram and Conduction
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2020
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5 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not awful but not amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 16, 2019
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8 people found this helpful
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Forlornehope
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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